Debbie Davies,
All I Found
(Telarc, 2005)

There's very little wrong with Debbie Davies' All I Found album. Then again, there isn't anything particularly noteworthy about it, either. And with the blues, in order to distinguish oneself from a flock of other competent players, there must be something that sets one's music apart.

Davies' guitar work here is unflamboyant. Her vocals fail to grab hold of a song and truly shake it up. The production on the disc is simply dull. Everything just sort of lies there, screaming "ignore me."

The album launches with "Made Right in the USA," a song written by Davies' drummer Dan Castagno. "My shoes are made in China, jeans in Mexico, seems like nothing made much in this country anymore. But the blues, you can't take that job away." Ironic then that Castagno, like Davies' regular bassist Alan J. Hagar, has been replaced for the recording of this album.

Drummer Per Hanson and bassist Noel Neal have some terrific credentials having played with the likes of Ronnie Earl and James Cotton. But with the exception of Bruce Katz (organ and piano), the session players who've been brought in for the All I Found sessions do little beyond providing anonymous bed tracks for Davies' guitar and vocals.

The title track, another Castagno composition, does contain some real vibrancy. Davies' rough-edged solo manages to inject some much needed passion into the song and Katz's organ work achieves the fever-pitch required to make this track soar. But there's a touch of vocal restraint that hamstrings the song's potential.

Then comes the ridiculous "Troughin'," a song celebrating the gastronomic excesses of an all-you-can-eat buffet. This is a blues that has "Made in the USA" stamped all over it. But when one considers the roots of the blues as a hungry, poor man's music, the label is hardly enhanced by its association with this song. From this low point on it's hard to take All I Found seriously. By the time "Trying to Keep It Real" rolls around (track 10) and Bruce Katz again turns up the heat, it's much too late to salvage the disc with a few dynamic organ flourishes.

Usually the Telarc label is a very good indicator of a worthwhile musical investment. All I Found on this disc however is uninspired and uninspiring -- the greys, not the blues.

by Gregg Thurlbeck
28 October 2006

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